Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Advice From a Departed Volunteer
Originally written in Spanish on September 9, 2008. Volunteer translation by Joelle Bouchard, former Spanish teacher in Houston, TX, USA.
I had the good fortune of spending five months at Conviven. They were five unforgettable months. They could have been boring, I could have not learned anything, but it wasn't like that. It wasn't like that becaue that's not how I wanted it to be. I spent a lot of time working for Conviven, preparing classes, thinking about what would be interesting to contribute...Because I think that is something that one has to do to really learn from this opportunity of being a volunteer in another part of the world. Commit oneself. In order to gain the confidence of the children and of the other volunteers at the Center, to learn even more from them then they learn from us...
I could have done a lot more, but no less. Because if I would have done less I wouldn't have felt so proud seeing my students enjoying their classes, I wouldn't have been able to establish such a good relationship with the people that were essential during my stay in Buenos Aires, like Carmen and my little students.
Participating in this program gives us the chance to meet special people, to have unforgettable experiences and I think that one should not bypass this opportunity supposedly because of a “lack of time.” Each of these children is special, although to realize this one must first gain their confidence and their interest because surely at this age, at times, the students aren't interested in learning English, or any other subject, but surely, that is the work of the “teachers!”
Well, that is the advice I want to give to future “teachers”: Have patience and imagination because these children are worth it! There are many interesting things to do with them beyond English classes but one must have a lot of desire to do so because it's not always easy to organize oneself.
Good luck and I hope you enjoy your experience as much as I enjoyed my stay in Buenos Aires, and above all at Conviven!
Marie, from France